Neighbors DC Is a New Pop-Up That Supports Small Businesses
Published in Washingtonian, July 12, 2021
Alliance member, Village Cafe, is home to Neighbors DC—a pop-up founded by Enica Barnes and Mahammad Mangum, which curates more than 50 local vendors, rotating seven to ten vendors each Saturday and Sunday.
When the pandemic meant that Enica Barnes couldn’t return to her job as the social media and events lead at local retailer Steadfast Supply, she says she found herself in a tight spot financially. So in August of last year, she started baking at her home in Silver Spring, then selling her creations via social media. Her first homemade treat, a five-spice tres leches, sold out. “It felt so good because it ignited this entrepreneurial spirit in me,” she says.
After that experience, Barnes not only continued selling baked goods but got more involved with the local pop-up community. The eventual result: She recently co-founded, with friend Mahammad Mangum, a pop-up called Neighbors DC, which curates more than 50 local vendors, rotating seven to ten vendors each Saturday and Sunday at Village Cafe near Union Market.
“We make it an effort to prioritize Black-owned businesses,” says Barnes, whose own business, A Contemporary Market, has branched beyond baked goods into skincare and other products. “But POC businesses are welcome. Small businesses, independent brands, women-owned brands, are all welcome.”